Tag Archives | End of the World

The Apocalypse Industry

page230050mvc-003sJerry Lembcke writes at CounterPunch:

Writing for his October 25, 2013 New York Times column, Paul Krugman noted the attraction that apocalyptic scenarios had for American investors, policy makers, and economists. He named Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles as “deficit-scolds” whose doomsaying has been overwrought, and he reprised a 2010 article by Alan Greenspan in which the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve warned that the national budget deficit would lead to soaring inflation and interest rates, trends that we have not yet seen.

Mr. Krugman is an economist so it is understandable that it would be the scaremongers in his own area of expertise that catch his attention. His concern that the “debt-apocalypse community,” as he calls it, includes powerful people whose technical judgment might be clouded by irrational fears is legitimate. A single policy enunciation by any one of them, after all, can make or break the life-chances of millions of people around the globe.

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The End of the World Looks Like This

asteroid-impact-Ron-Miller

© Ron Miller

Or this … or this … or this. Smithsonian Magazine profiles the apocalyptic visions of artist Ron Miller:

Recently, Miller released a series of images that shows what our skyline would look like if other planets were as close as the moon is to Earth. He has also created a compelling series depicting the apocalypse. While some of the end-of-the-world scenarios are pure fantasy, most are actually scientifically plausible.

“Sometimes it takes longer to research things than it takes to actually do the picture,” says Miller. He consults with scientists and other sources, so that his illustrations of rising seas, asteroids, gamma ray bursts and black holes are accurate. “I try to get things right,” he stressed.

The reality is dramatic enough. See for yourself, in this selection of Miller’s work:

black-hole-end-of-the-world-Ron-Miller

© Ron Miller

A Black Hole Swallows the Earth

From Miller: In this case, you have a stray black hole that wandered just a wee tad too close to Earth.

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An Alternate Universe Will Eventually Annihilate Ours, Higgs Boson Discovery Reveals

Great, we spent all that time and money so we could find out this terrible news. Via io9:

Remember that Higgs-like particle that scientists finally managed to pin down last year at the Large Hadron Collider? According to Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the mass of the Higgs boson indicates that “the universe we live in is inherently unstable, and at some it’s all going to get wiped out.”

After last year’s Higgs discovery, he performed a calculation that indicated the potential for a quantum fluctuation — an event that would create a lower-energy state bubble that expands at the speed of light and “sweep everything before it.” He predicts that it won’t happen for many tens of billions of years.

A little bubble of what you might think of as an ‘alternative’ universe will appear somewhere and then it will expand out and destroy us,” Lykken said.

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Five More Possibly Upcoming Apocalypses To Provoke Panic

We may have dodged a bullet with the end of the Mayan long count calendar, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Via Addicting Info, several other compelling ancient doomsday prophesies may be approaching, including the Norse Ragnarök, Nostradamus’ Last Days,  the Hindu Kali Yuga, and even the Zoroastrian apocalypse:

Yes, they have one, too. It is supposed to occur 3000 years after Zoroaster was born but since there is some dispute about that, who knows when it will happen? The whole thing will begin when the sun and moon are no longer seen and a long, dark winter kicks in. The usual fading of morality and religious values and such will darken our doorstep.

Then a big demon will break out of the cavern its been held trapped in and it will eat 1/3 of the world’s population. Then a virgin will bathe in a lake in which the long-ago ejaculated seed of Zoroaster is still alive and she’ll get pregnant and give birth to the savior figure, Saoshyant.

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Don’t Panic! Asteroid You Would’ve Never Heard of Otherwise Won’t Destroy Earth

Looks like you’ll need to keep saving for retirement: NASA has announced that incoming asteroid 2011AG5 will not impact Earth during a 2040 flyby, So no need to worry about that thing you had no idea might end life on Earth in the first place.

Via CNN:

Uncertainties about the orbit of the asteroid, known as 2011 AG5, previously allowed for a less than a 1% chance it would hit the Earth in February 2040, NASA said.

To narrow down the asteroid’s future course, NASA put out a call for more observation. Astronomers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa took up the task and managed to observe the asteroid over several days in October.

“An analysis of the new data conducted by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows that the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated,” NASA declared Friday.

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Are We All Secretly Hoping For The End Of The World?

Via Salon, Daisy Yuhas on the fascination of impending collapse:

Neuroscientist Shmuel Lissek suspects that some apocalyptic believers find the idea that the end is nigh to be validating. Individuals with a history of traumatic experiences, for example, may be fatalistic. For these people, finding a group of like-minded fatalists is reassuring. There may also be comfort in being able to attribute doom to some larger cosmic order—such as an ancient Mayan prophecy.

There’s an even broader allure to knowing the precise end date. “Apocalyptic beliefs make existential threats—the fear of our mortality—predictable,” Lissek says. Lissek, in collaboration with National Institute of Mental Health neuroscientist Christian Grillon and colleagues, has found that when an unpleasant or painful experience, such as an electric shock, is predictable, we relax. The anxiety produced by uncertainty is gone.

Steven Schlozman, drawing both from his experiences as a Harvard Medical School child psychiatrist and novelist (his first book recounts a zombie apocalypse) believes it’s the post-apocalyptic landscape that fascinates people most.

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33 Michigan Public Schools Closed Today For The Mayan Apocalypse

Being in school is definitely weirder now than when I was a kid. Via NBC News:

More than 30 Michigan schools closed for the holidays two days early, in part because the Mayan calendar predicts the world will end on Friday, an official said. Matt Wandrie, superintendent for Lapeer Community Schools, said doomsday “rumors” are running rampant in several districts.

“Given the recent events in Connecticut, there have been numerous rumors circulating in our district, and in neighboring districts, about potential threats of violence against students,” Wandrie wrote on his website. “Additionally, rumors connected to the Mayan calendar predicted end of the world on Friday have also surfaced,” he added.

He noted that Twitter was lighting up with posts with sentiments like: “Friday would be a great day to go out w/ a bang.”

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It’s After the End of the World…Don’t You Know That Yet?

I spent my childhood going to an evangelical church and was taught that the apocalypse was just around the corner: beasts rising up from the sea, Satan, 666 on your forehead. The whole shebang, and all very literal - no room for metaphor. I could never swallow the doctrine and stopped going as soon as I could effect a strong enough resistance to my parents. Forcing me to go to church was a bigger pain in the ass to my parents than just letting me sleep in and after a while, they stopped going too.
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Doomsdayers Flock To Serbian Mountain Believed To Contain Alien Pyramid

There seems to be a good old fashioned mystic mountain battle brewing between Mount Rtanj and France’s Pic de Bugarach. The Telegraph reports:

Hotel owners around the pyramid-shaped Mount Rtanj, a supposedly mystical mountain in the east of the Balkan country, say that bookings are flooding in, with believers who are convinced that the end of a Mayan calendar heralds the destruction of the world hoping that its purported mysterious powers will save them from the apocalypse.

Adherents of the end-of-the-world scenario think the 5,100ft-high mountain, part of the Carpathian range, conceals a pyramidal building inside, left behind by alien visitors thousands of years ago. Arthur C Clarke, the British science fiction writer, reportedly identified the peak as a place of “special energy” and called it “the navel of the world”.

“In one day we had 500 people trying to book rooms. People want to bring their whole families,” said Obrad Blecic, a hotel manager.

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